The How-to's for Project & Seasonal Project Freight
Managing day-to-day freight loads is a full time job, but the often overlooked project and / or seasonal freight market requirements can wreak havoc on shippers' resources, performance and reputation with its carrier base.
InTek Freight & Logistics has always done well with project / season freight. With a recent acquisition in 2016, InTek exponentially raised the bar on this segment of the market and thought it made sense to talk about the subject in more detail.
Examples of project / seasonal freight include:
- A material handling manufacturer is in constant project mode, as it racks new distribution centers.
- Moving a new Plant or DC location used to be once in a career project, but with as quickly as things change and employees change companies a move can happen several times over a career.
- A seasonal project shipper is that of a popcorn manufacturer that supports the Boy Scout fund raising program.
The thread that runs through all the examples is the shipper with this type of freight does not have the resources within its four walls to successfully plan and coordinate the work successfully, so it have the following choices to make with pluses and minuses:
- A shipper can size its team based on peak demand.
- Plus - When this strategy is employed, the company always has a skilled team ready for action.
- Minus - This is the most expensive alternative, as the company is essentially doing what one of my prior colleagues would call out as "building a church for Easter Sunday".
- Build a short-term team to cover the peak demand.
- Plus - This alternative addresses having too large of a team during the down times of the year.
- Minus -
- Requires a great deal of recruiting and training to bring team a team online.
- Inconsistent teams and successes throughout the years, as there is not tribal knowledge of what has worked in the past is brought to the table.
- Short term teams may operate, as such, and not be dedicated to the task at hand.
- Ask the current team to put in the extra hours to cover the need.
- Plus - The team will be well versed in the needs of the business and its internal and external customers.
- Minus - The team will be burned out and could create unnecessary turnover, which can be expensive, and there may be parts of the program that fail as the team wears down.
- Outsource the peaks to a logistics service provider.
- Plus - This solution brings a cost effective, skilled team that has the resources and industry connections to successfully execute the program.
- Minus - The shipper could pick the wrong logistics service provider (LSP) and find themselves behind the eight ball with cost overruns and poor KPI's.
With the above in mind, project freight often is outsourced to a logistics service provider (LSP) for strong KPI performance and budget adherence.
If outsourcing is the decision, shippers need to take great care in selecting its logistics service provider (LSP) to handle the project. Any provider can claim expertise, but those that focus on the market have a unique group of subject matter experts; well defined processes; and a strong transportation management system (TMS) that supports and measures the success.
When seeking a logistics service provider shippers should look for a provider that is:
- Financially stable.
- Proper insurance.
- Experienced team that scales, as claimed.
- Competitive rates on various modes of freight to ensure all angles of the project are covered economically.
- Full function Teir 1 Cloud Based TMS that provides the necessary visibility, operational efficiencies; customer visibility; and reporting that keep management keyed in on costs vs budget.
The below chart outlines the 4 categories InTek focuses its resources to deliver to the shippers goals.
The keys to project & seasonal freight is to over communicate; high level of service; and adherence to the budget. Shippers involved in this type of freight only touch the customer a handful of times during the project / season, which gives the shipper very little opportunity to recover on its customers' expectations. This requires project freight management to operate at the highest level of service, so the shipper has the opportunity procure the business in subsequent periods.
To learn more about how InTek Freight and Logistics can help ...
Keep in touch, as there will be an announcement coming on our expansion into project freight involving warehouse inventory moves.